The Roaring 20s: A Call To Action (Part of the IWLA 90th Anniversary series)
By Dawn Merritt
On January 14, 1922, 54 sportsmen met in Chicago to discuss an issue of common concern: the deteriorating conditions of America’s top fishing streams. Uncontrolled industrial discharges, raw sewage, and soil erosion threatened to destroy many of the nation’s most productive waterways. At the same time, the country’s forests, wetlands, and wilderness areas were quickly disappearing.
The group decided to form an organization to combat water pollution and named it after Izaak Walton, a 17th-century English conservationist who wrote the literary classic, “The Compleat Angler.” Initially formed as a “federation of angling clubs,” the Izaak Walton League of America soon broadened its goals in defense of outdoor America.
Ninety years later, the Izaak Walton League’s 39,000 members and more than 250 local chapters continue to build on the accomplishments of those who preceded them as defenders of the nation’s soil, air, woods, waters, and wildlife.
You can track the history of the League through the advances in wildlife and natural resource conservation in the past nine decades. Often, those tracks lead to historic turning points when Ikes helped craft key legislation and saved critical water and land resources.
Here’s how the story started.
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